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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 11, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: in a rare news conference, c.i.a. director john brennan defends his agency against claims of torture, admits to mistakes, and says the value of harsh tactics against suspected terrorists is unknowable. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this thursday, protests continue across the country in response to recent police killings. we explore how law enforcement can occur in a way that reduces unnecessary use of deadly force. >> the conversation here can't just be about the tactics we use. it has to be about the relationships that we build. relationship of trust.
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building legitimacy in the eyes of our community. >> ifill: then, as nations meeting in lima work toward a new global climate change treaty, peru's indigenous populations call for better protection of their lands from environmental exploitation. >> this demonstration was set up as a kind of counter to the official climate change gathering taking place across town. the idea here was to raise the world's awareness of increasing and increasingly violent encroachment on tribal areas here in peru and elsewhere around the globe. >> woodruff: plus, dissecting innocence, true crime and the justice system, week after week in the breakout non-fiction podcast "serial." >> ifill: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the clock ticked down today on the life of the 113th congress and on authorizing enough money to keep the federal government operating. the funds run out at midnight, and house republican leaders pressed for passage of a spending bill worth $1.1 trillion.
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>> this legislation is a compromise. the product of hard fought negotiations between the house and senate with give and take from both sides. but at the end of the day mr. speaker it reflects conservative priorities, keeps our spending in line, and reins in regulatory overreach that has been hampering our economy. >> woodruff: the g.o.p. leaders struggled to corral conservatives who wanted to stop president obama's actions on immigration. on the democratic side, minority leader nancy pelosi said she was enormously disappointed that president obama endorsed the bill. she blasted several key provisions, including a rollback of regulations on big banks. >> this is a moral hazard. we're being asked to vote for a moral hazard, why is this in an appropriations bill? because it was the price to pay
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to get an appropriations bill. i was told we couldn't get all these other things that have been described here so beautifully unless we gave wall street this gift. >> woodruff: republican leaders said whatever happens, they mean to avoid a government shutdown, by at least passing a short-term spending measure. but the federal office of personnel management told the newshour it's laying contingency plans, just in case. >> ifill: a powerful storm walloped the west coast today with up to eight inches of rain, knocking out power, disrupting flights and raising fears of landslides. in northern california, the rain flooded streets and overwhelmed storm sewers near sonoma. and, high winds and waves in san francisco bay forced cancellations of commuter ferries and other mass transit. the storm was bringing blizzard conditions to the sierra nevada mountains, but it could also help drought-stricken farmers. >> woodruff: a top al-qaeda
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leader in yemen blamed president obama today for the deaths of two hostages last weekend. american luke somers and south african pierre korkie were shot to death before a u.s. special forces raid could rescue them. the al-qaeda figure said the u.s. acted recklessly, instead of negotiating. >> ( translated ): this message is for the american people about the killing of hostages in yemen. after our message we gave obama and his government three days to fulfill demands of the mujahideen, with it was an appeal from an american hostage. obama made the wrong decision which was accounted as a signature of execution of an american citizen. >> woodruff: the message said al-qaeda wanted to exchange luke somers for detainees at guantanamo. >> ifill: in hong kong, police cleared most of the main pro- democracy protest site today, after a nearly two-month standoff with demonstrators. john sparks of independent television news reports
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>> reporter: when 1,000 policemen turned up in central hong kong this morning. everybody knew that the final clearance was about to begin. for 75 days pro-democracy activists have occupied this site an eight lane highway in the heart of city. but their demonstration was over the authorities were taking it back. >> a collection of court bailiffs, opened the proceedings. we're enforcing an injunction said this official. you obstacles will now be removed. and men armed with sharp knives and bolt cutters got to work, tearing the protestors' barricades apart. the protestors offered little resistance. just a final rally in a place they called the main stage. give us universal suffrage they cried but the territory's government and their masters in beijing have refused to negotiate.
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for protest leaders, it is a painful retreat. two months ago, hundreds of thousands congregated in the city center. representing the biggest challenge to chinese authority since the protests in tiananmen square. but the authorities have outlasted their youthful, tech- savy opponents. and they've censored their ideas in the rest of china. hong kong will get its road back, but life is unlikely to return to normal. in a newly politicized city, there are many here who do not like where it's going. >> woodruff: back in this country, a justice department report shed new light on rape and sexual assault among college-age women. according to the findings, only about 20% of campus sexual assault victims go to police. one in ten victims say they did not think the incident was important enough to tell the authorities. and the rate of sexual assault
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was far higher for non-students than for students. the report spanned the years 1995 to 2013. >> ifill: on wall street, stocks rallied, then retreated some, as the falling price of oil hurt energy stocks again. oil finished below $60 a barrel in new york trading, down 44% from its peak back in june. that limited the dow jones industrial average to a gain of 63 points, closing at 17,596. the nasdaq rose 24 points to close at 4,708. and the s&p 500 added 9, to finish at 2,035. >> woodruff: sliding oil prices also sent the russian ruble to yet another all-time low. meanwhile, china's leaders reaffirmed a goal of slower economic expansion in 2015, in a bid for more sustainable growth. the new target is expected to be seven percent. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour. a rare public response from the head of the c.i.a. building trust between police
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and communities. peru's indigenous people fight to preserve their land. why more people are less hopeful about the american dream. what you need to know about this year's flu season. and, what's behind the success of the podcast "serial." >> ifill: the director of the central intelligence agency struck back today at a scathing senate report on interrogations in the years after 9/11. john brennan took the highly unusual step of calling reporters to c.i.a. headquarters, in langley, virginia, to make his case >> there were no easy answers, and whatever your views are on e.i.t.'s, our nation and in particular this agency did a lot of things right during this period of time to keep our nation strong and secure. >> ifill: brennan was deputy
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director when so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, or e.i.t.'s, began. he conceded today there were abuses, but he defended the c.i.a.'s overall record. >> in a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent and rightly should be repudiated by all. it is vitally important to recognize, however, that the overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at c.i.a. carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal policy guidance provided. they did what they were asked to do in the service of our nation. >> ifill: the senate intelligence committee report detailed a long list of brutal treatment and did not flinch from calling it torture-- prisoners stripped naked, beaten, deprived of sleep, waterboarded and subjected to hypothermia. brennan said the committee was
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divided along partisan lines and did not interview c.i.a. officers. he also defended the interrogation tactics, saying in some cases it led to or confirmed important information. >> detainees who were subjected to e.i.t.'s at some point during their confinement provided information that our experts found to be useful and valuable in our counterterrorism efforts. and the cause and effect relationship between the application of those e.i.t.'s and the ultimate provision of information is unknown and unknowable. but for someone to say that there was no intelligence of value, of use that came from those detainees once they were subjected to e.s, i think that lacks any foundation at all. >> ifill: in the specific case
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of osama bin laden, the senate findings,reinforced in a running series of tweets today by committee chairman dianne feinstein, said information gleaned from tortured detainees did not help find him. brennan, again, disagreed. >> it is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against bin laden. >> ifill: on another key point, the c.i.a. director said agency officials did not lie to the white house, congress, the public and the media. >> the record simply does not support the study's inference that the agency repeatedly, systematically, and intentionally misled others on the effectiveness of the program. >> ifill: brennan's statements and a 136-page c.i.a. rebuttal suggest that senate investigators cherry-picked evidence to support pre- determined conclusions. the c.i.a. director's statements
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also appeared to put him at odds with the white house. officials there would not say if president obama approved of brennan's decision to speak out. but spokesman josh earnest did say he has the president's support. >> john brennan is a dedicated professional who has dedicated his time in public service to protecting the united states of america. that makes him a patriot, and it makes him somebody-- makes him someone who has the full confidence of the president of the united states. >> ifill: brennan said he ultimately agreed with the president's 2009 decision to ban torture. and, he said the agency now hopes to set aside the controversy over past behavior and look to the future. we take a closer look at brennan's defense, and his agency's strained relations with congress and the white house, with wall street journal reporter siobhan gorman. she was at today's news conference. siobhan, you had the first question. how unusual was it for the c.i.a. director to even have a news conference?
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>> it was incredibly unusual. i think the last time it happened was in 2004 when c.i.a. faced sort of a similar situation which was a scathing senate intelligence committee report about the iraq intelligence failures. but i don't believe that was one was televised. this stands out, certainly, for the live nature of it. >> ifill: he seemed to straddle the question about effectiveness. reporters came at him in a couple of different ways on that question, the effectiveness of torture, in the end saying it was unknowable. how did it shake out to you? >> well, he's trying to threat thred this really tough needle where he says, well, detainees who underwent what they called these enhanced interrogation techniques, which are things like waterboarding or slamming detainees against walls or putting them in these coffin-like boxes, that after experiencing those techniques, detainees provided information. but he says that doesn't necessarily mean that the
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techniques actually produced information. the individuals produced the information. so he's sort of trying to shift the discussion to say, well, the detainees were the sources of the information. we can't actually conclude that the techniques led to them providing that information. >> ifill: but he did concede sometimes these extreme techniques did result in false information. >> yeah. i mean, it was interesting. at the very end of his session, he kind of offered a personal assessment, and he said that in his assessment, when these techniques are applied, oftentimes it will lead to false information, and that's not only unhelpful because it's false information, but it creates a higher volume of information-- some true, some false-- that the intelligence analysts have to try to sift through and figure out what's what. >> ifill: c.i.a. director brennan and other c.i.a. defenders have been pushing back pretty hard on the senate report saying that democrats, in particular, on the committee, cherry picked evidence and
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ignored others and dint interview staffers. is that part of an overall strategy of push-back? >> that i think has been the c.i.a.'s argument for a while, and that's also bye-bye the argument of many republicans on the senate intelligence committee. i think that, you know, they-- director brennan repeated again today this notion of not having interviewed c.i.a. officials and, you know, noted that, that probably would have been a better way to go. and i think-- >> ifill: pardon me, i have to ask you, what is the-- what is the senate democrats' response to that. why didn't they? >> right. what they say is that the justice department had an ongoing investigation through much of the same time period the senate was doing the investigation, and it didn't want to impede it. what the c.i.a. says is that there was a six-month period after the justice department investigations ended and when the senate investigation ended,
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and so they say that they should have interviewed people during that time. >> ifill: the intelligence community is pretty tight in washington and around the world. has this disagreement poisoned the relationship between the c.i.a. and the senate or the senate democrats will at least, or strained relations with the white house? >> well, it's certainly poisoned the relationship with senate democrats. we had mark udall, outgoing senator from colorado, who is on the senate intelligence committee, yesterday sort of reupping his call for mr. brennan's resignation. but something very interesting came in after director brennan's speech today. it was the statement from senator feinstein. and you had mentioned, i think, the tweets that were going on from her account during the speech, which seemed still pretty critical, and yet she put out a statement this afternoon that suggested that he had persuaded her on-- not persuaded but kind of-- that they had reached agreement on a number of point. she seemed particularly happy that director brennan said the
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c.i.a. had not concluded that these enhanced interrogation techniques, as they call them, did produce valuable intelligence. and, again, this is the distinction that director brennan is drawing between the individuals and the techniques producing the information. >> ifill: director brennan also said that the c.i.a. fell short in its responsibility to punish some of the people who had done these things some years ago. so what is happening now. what has changed? is the reform under way? can we just say okay that was then and this is now? >> well, he did point to changes they had made in accountability mechanisms, and he did say they should have held some officers accountable. what he didn't say was they were going to hold some of those officers accountable, and it's hard to know how many of them are still there. however, a former c.i.a. official told me yesterday that he would estimate that maybe 30% to 50% of the officials who are cited in the senate report are still working there, and the american civil liberties union about put out a response today
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to director brennan's speech saying he still needs to hold people accountable. >> ifill: and finally, siobhan, is the word "torture "now a term of art in this discussion, where you hear people like director brennan using the term e.i.t. and the senate and the folks in the white house are using the word torture. >> that has been a point of tension between the c.i.a. and the white house for some time, and this is because president obama has a number of times, certainly, called these techniques torture. and director brennan is in a tough position. i, obviously, don't know what term he would prefer to use. but c.i.a. directors-- i don't think director panetta, leon panetta used it, either, and i don't know if director petraeus confronted these issues all that much. but c.i.a. sort of has legal liability if they start saying that their officers conducted torture. so the director is in a kind of a tough position when it comes to that characterization. and again today, director brennan kind of sidestepped that
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question. >> ifill: siobhan gorman of the "wall street journal," thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: protesters continue to take to the streets around the country following the fatal police shootings in ferguson, missouri, and cleveland, as well as the death of eric garner in new york city. these incidents have raised i spoke earlier this week with three people who have thought a lot about this subject. dean esserman is the chief of police in new haven, connecticut, david klinger is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the university of missouri. he's also a former los angeles police officer. and ronald hampton, a former 23- year community relations officer in washington, d.c.
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we welcome you all to the newshour. chief esserman, let me begin with you. let's talk first about how police officers evaluate a threat. how-- is there a universal training that officers learn on how to do that? >> we're trained in similar wa ways, different priorities. but police officers are trained to go and to serve and to protect. and sometimes that means using force, and sometimes that means slowing down the tempo and using what we know how to use best, which is a conversation. >> woodruff: and professor klinger, as someone, as we just said, is a former police officer, how do you strike that balance between a time to-- to be prepared to use force it if necessary, and on the other hand, it's a time to calm things down? >> well, i think you're always prepared to use force, and that's the key. is you have to understand that these things can escalate
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quickly. but as the chief indicated, our best tactic is to create some time and talk to people. the vast majority of the time we're going to be able to talk people into jail. the vast majority of time when people are upset we can calm them down, but there are times and places where we can't. and if it doesn't get to that point, the person remains anlitated and a threat emerges, either to an officer or to a civilian, then the police have to move for a forceful action. unfortunately, sometimes the first moment an officer arrives on scene, that's a moment where there's a threat, and the officer has to take physical force as the first option, essentially. >> woodruff: ronald hampton, in your experience, how do officers-- how are you trained to think about that? >> well, i think we were trained in-- in the method that the job of being a police officer is to deescalate escalating situations. so we don't really make, i don't think, split-second decisions because we are sort of impacted
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by other kinds of things in terms of training and whatnot. but also our knowledge in terms of working in the communities. i was fortunate to walk a foot beat and work in the community i lived in, so i knew a lot of things about that community. so i didn't-- i wasn't afraid. so that-- that played into the factor. i could talk to people. being able to talk to people, i think, is the key to being able to de-escalate situations, and knowing something about the community and the people you-- the people in the community you work in. >> you know, i think that's an important point. this isn't really just a conversation about tactics it's a conversation about a philosophy, of the type of policing we do. and what we've discovered over the years is that strangers aren't the best way to police. in new haven, we're committed to community policing. that means that relationship we hope is built long before a crisis. >> that's right.
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>> in new haven, every police officer upon graduation from the academy walkaise beat for a year and starts to build relationships that penetrate that uniform in both directions. so the conversation here just can't be about the tactics we use. it has to be about the relationships we build, relationships of trust, building legitimacy in the eyes of our community. >> woodruff: and, david klinger, is that something that is going to be possible, though, in every community? >> the capacity is going to be different in terms of the geographic region. we can't put people on foot beats everywhere, but the chief is spot on, as is your other guest, is what you try to do is you try to build up legitimacy. you try to build up communication. you try to understand that the work between the police and the community is an ongoing process. unfortunately, however, sometimes you don't have that opportunity to know the person
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that you're about to enter into an interaction with. and in that case, what officers should always try to do is build some type of common human element between the officer and the individual. something as simple as a traffic stop to introduce yourself as a police officer, explain to the person why they have been stopped and create a dialogue so the person that you stopped understands. simple things like that can often lead to the de-escalation that my colleagues were talking about, and so i agree with the other guests about this. it's also important to understand that sometimes the person you're dealing with you might not know but there's always an opportunity to at least try to build something there. >> woodruff: there's always that kind of an opportunity? >> it is, it is. and that is part of the training, to introduce yourself, to tell them what you're stopping them for, to talk about what happened, to sormt of humanize the whole process of a traffic stop, because sometimes your work can create an edge. and what you want to do is be able to survive the contact and the citizen, also.
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so in handling those kind of situations, you can bring a sort of human approach to doing it, and that is part of the training, and good police training is essentially to highlight those kinds of situations and then police officers are out there doing it. >> the uniform and the authority is just not enough. >> no, it's not. >> we really have to build a relationship in a community. we are not an army and occupation. we're not a foreign police force. it's very clear in new haven that we belong to new haven, that we are embraced by new havenners, that we serve new havenners. >> woodruff: david klinger, how much harder is it t what the three of you are talking about when it is a cross-racial situation? and i want to just throw this question out there-- are police departments diverse enough in this country? and if they're not, why aren't they? >> well, in terms of going cross-racially, when i was a
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young police officer i got out of the academy in los angeles and i worked the south end, 77th street precinct in south central los angeles, and i didn't have an interaction with any white citizens for many, many months, other than maybe a couple of merchants every now and then. and what i found sihad some wise training officers who said, "dave, what they told you in the academy is correct. we need to figure out a couple of things that are going to be a little bit different but always treat everybody with respect and dignity, unless and until they demonstrate they're not going to respond to that. >> the policing should reflect the makeup of the community, but it has to go way beyond just the numbers. it has to be in terms of policy-making position. it has to be involved in leadership. we need to see ourselves in the leadership roles and sitting at the table when these public safety-- quote, unquote-- decisions are made in terms of what are we going to do in communities? how are we going to police in communities? and more importantly, our community people involved in the process as we develop strategies
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for community policing. >> woodruff: finally, chief esserman, come back to the question of diversity on police forces. why aren't they more diverse in your view? >> plawz because police departments are not always as welcoming as we hoped they would be. we're the most diverse police department in connecticut. we're the most diverse command staff in connecticut. but i still know many people of color. i know many women who feel uncomfortable taking that first step in joining a police department. i know people who just do not like the police. what they fear is the color blue. and the skin color of the person in that uniform doesn't change that opinion. but a relationship over time does. so we're proud of our diversity. but we're also a department that believes in building relationships throughout the community. we want our police officers to treat people with dignity and respect, but we want our officers treated with dignity
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and respect. >> woodruff: well, we thank you all three. this is a subject, of course, on the mind of many, and it's a conversation we're going to continue to have. but we thank each one of you. chief dean esserman, professor david klinger, ronald hampton. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: international delegates have gathered for climate change talks in lima, peru this week, hoping to build the framework of a plan to cut the world's heat-trapping gas emissions. secretary of state john kerry arrived there today to help with that new accord. but for many peruvians, the focus is local, as mining and timber operations encroach into once pristine areas inhabited by indigenous tribes. jeffrey brown is in lima, and has this report, part of his series on "culture at risk." >> brown: there were dancers and
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drummers, banners and chants, traditional clothing of all kinds. a march of thousands, many of them tribal people, that shut down part of downtown lima for several hours. demanding better protection of their lands and their cultures. they came from near and far, some very far, this group from the ucayali region in eastern peru had traveled for several days, by boat, plane and bus, to get here from their remote homes. >> ( translated ): for us as an indigenous population it's important to be here because we want to stop climate change. we used to have regular seasons, summer and winter during which we planted our seeds. but now, with the climate changing we can work the land but sometimes we cannot plant seeds, there is no production.
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>> this demonstration was set up as a kind of counter to the official climate change gathering taking place across town. the idea here was to raise the world's awareness of increasing and increasingly violent encroachment on tribal areas here in peru and elsewhere around the globe. >> throughout the crowd, portraits of one of the martyrs of this movement, edwin chota, a peruvian environmental activist from the ashaninka indian tribe who'd spent years fighting illegal logging on his community's lands. in september, chota and three others from the village of saweto were shot and killed near the brazilian border. in the vast amazon basin that's home to about half of peru's more than 1,500 indigenous communities, with some 300 thousand people. chota had spoken of threats he received as he fought to gain official title to his lands and keep loggers at bay. >> ( translated ): it is a risk of life or death for us because they are loggers, they have arms, they have everything and they are never going to pay attention to us.
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so we need the support of government institutions to protect the region at the border. >> brown: chota's remains were found by a river near his home. two loggers have been charged with his murder. we all accounts illegal logging, mining, and drug trafficking have been on the rise in this area. the world bank. in lima this week, the vice culture minister who overseas indigenous relations, said the government is working to resolve land ownership disputes but that administrations past and present have struggled to ensure legal rights and safety in these distant communities. >> ( translated ): these are remote areas with very little government presence because >> these are remote areas with very little government presence because of geographical
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barriers. for example, from the capital of pucallpa region to the community of saweto it takes six to eight days by boat. that is why the most important issue is to assure the government's presence, not only in terms of a military or police presence but also in what a government should provide to its indigenous populations: health, education, social services, and security. >> brown: encroachment deep into amazon forests may also be behind scenes like this, as previously isolated or un- contacted tribes come into the open. last year, more than 100 members of the mascho-piro tribe appeared at a river in southeast peru. anthropologist beatriz huertas studies groups like this who've chosen to live apart from civilization. she thinks she knows why more are now making contact. >> i think that first of all it's owed to the great pressures on their lands and natural resources, and that those are forcing these isolated peoples to alter their ways and are leading to their displacement.
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>> brown: there are more such tribes than you might think. the advocacy group survival international estimates there are 15 in peru alone, and at least 100 around the globe. the highest concentration is here in the amazon. citing the threat of contagious disease and other problems that have decimated previously uncontacted tribes, beatriz huertas says the government needs to take immediate action. >> to protect them it's necessary to officially recognize their lands and to establish a series of protection mechanisms to guarantee their lives, their health and the right of these populations to decide for themselves what lives they want to live. >> j.b.: i asked vice minister balbuena the overarching question, how peru can foster investment and growth, while also protecting vulnerable people and cultures. >> i think we always feel we need to do more. i think the demands of the
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indigenous peoples require us to act faster. and we can't advance a peaceful society if we don't find a balancing point between growth on the one hand and respect and protection of rights on the other. >> brown: achieving a balance has also, of course, been on the minds of attendees at the climate change summit this week in lima. after years of setbacks and sidesteps. the goal here is for nations to commit, or at least commit to committing to specific domestic emissions cuts. the grand hope, a new global treaty to be signed at next year's meeting in paris. the effort got a boost last month with an important agreement between china and the u.s., the world's largest economies and polluters, to limit their greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. in pavilions open to the public, peruvians of all ages took in exhibitions that explained the tangible effects of climate change. there, conference attendee chris field told me he felt encouraged by what he'd heard so far at the
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meetings, but that huge challenges remained and that, >> the big challenge is ambition of mitigation, how much we decrease the emissions of heat trapping gases. ambition of adaption, how much we invest in helping people cope with the climate changes that can't be avoided, and how tightly those two things she be connected. >> brown: getting individual countries to actually make commitments. >> well, what you find is that, there's kind of constitutionally a difference between the perspective that the developed countries take, which is really focused on mitigation aspects, and the developing ones who want to see much more of a inter- linkage between investments in decreasing amounts of heat trapping gases and increases in helping people cope. >> brown: case in point, of course, is the host country itself which faces many long- term environmental threats and
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as tribal demonstrators shouted in the streets, immediate, urgent ones that demand answers and actions. i'm jeffrey brown, reporting from lima for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: by many measures, the u.s. economy seems to have picked up steam this year. and the most recent jobs report was the best month since january 2012. but many americans are still doubtful about economic opportunity and the ability to move up the ladder. in fact, a new poll by the new york times found the public is more pessimistic than it was after the financial crisis. just 64% of those surveyed said they still believed it was possible to become wealthy if they started out poor. a pronounced drop from 2009 and the lowest level in two decades. the poll also sampled opinions with some surprising answers on a range of economic issues. andrew ross sorkin of the "new
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york times" joins us now. welcome back to the newshour. you know, we've been seeing, i guess, coming off the midterm elections, that americans don't feel good about the economy, despite the statistics that say otherwise. but this poll that the "time" has done suggests a much deeper, long-term kind of pessimism. how do you explain it? >> well, you know, we wanted to try to look at this concept of the american dream, this concept of mobility-- of starting poor and really becoming rich. we also asked people what they thought rich meant, and i would tell you we thought some of those answers were quite surprising. you don't need to be a millionaire in this country to be considered rich. about 25%, 26% of the respondents said if you can make $100,000 or $200,000, that was very wealthy, in this country. but we wanted to look at that mobility issue, and so many people repeatedly said they
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didn't think that mobility existed in the same way that they thought it might have existed before. and, frankly, what was most surprising about it was that people thought that they had a better shot, even three years ago after the financial crise, and i think that it's really a demonstration of the tale of two countries, if you will, when it comes to the economy we've seen over the past years, which really goes to this larger issue of inequality. >> woodruff: well, in fact, one of the questions that to me stood out was you asked people whether they think the u.s. economic system is fair-- in other words, that all americans have an equal opportunity to succeed-- or basically unfair, that not everybody has an equal opportunity. what did you find there? >> well, a slim majority, 52% thought it was fair. so we live, again, in a country where half the country thinks it's fair, half the country doesn't. the most interesting and perhaps telling piece of that, though, is we also looked at what your
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own income was when you answered that question. and if you were considered-- i don't even we're even-- necessarily rich, but the more money that you earned in any given year, the more likely you were, as you might imagine, to think that it was fair. one note on the american dream, though. there are two-- you know, we always talk about this idea of the american dream. there might actually be two american dreams. there's the mark zuckerberg american dream that anyone can start-- or horr, aio alger-- you can start in your garage and shoot moon. and i got the sense from the interviews we did that, that american dream is still very much alive and well, that that's possible. but what's less possible is this other american dream which was if you worked hard and you got an education, that you're going to get a jock, that you're going to get a house, you will get married and two kids, the "leave it to beaver" american dream and i think that is the american dream people feel today is so
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challenged. >> woodruff: and there were so many. that was interesting. and at the other end of the spruct rum, i was struck that you asked people whether they think it was a problem that there's too much regulation by government slowing down business or not enough. and it looks like, as we see here, they worry about over-regulation. >> that also was very surprising, given this issue that people-- so many people in the country thought it was unfair, at the same time, they are worried about over-regulation. they are worried about the economy, and they want the economy-- i think just from our interviews-- so desperately to grow and to the extent that they're worried that regulation could be holding that back, which is surprising because on the flip side, there's a lot of people who say too little regulation is what has created this inequality in the country. having said all of that, i'll tell you we did an interview today with paul singer, the investor, large hedge fund investor, and he made a persuasive argument that so much of this is not just the politics in washington but what has
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happened at the federal reserve, which is to say with all these low interest rates, the great beneficiaries have been those who own assets. if they own a home or you already own stocks in the stock market, you have benefitted. if you have not had that opportunity, it's-- it has exacerbated the schism between these groups. >> woodruff: injecting the federal reserve in there. finally, andrew ross sorkin, you were at this conference today, you talk to smart business people all the time. are they seeing anything out there that's going to change this trend, that can give people hope, that wages are going to grow, opportunity is going to grow? >> i will tell you, actually, this was a very helpful group, perhaps much more surprisingly so than where we were with the poll. and the issue came back over and over again to energy in this country. and we've seen oil prices drop in this country, and that is the equivalent almost of a tax savings for americans of all stripes, and that money is going to go back into people's pocket and hopefully ends up getting spent in a meaningful way.
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everybody we spoke to today thinks that oil prices are going to continue to go lower. that can create all sorts of other geopolitical issues and risks for countries like russia and venezuela and the meef the e east and elsewhere but at least here people were very optimistic. >> woodruff: a lot to pick over here. andrew ross sorkin we thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: flu season has arrived, and doctors are warning it could be more severe than they thought. that's partially because a strain of this year's most common virus is not responding to this year's vaccine. which could result in more hospitalizations and deaths. so far, the flu is only widespread in half a dozen states, but it's picking up. l.j. tan is with the immunization action coalition. he's a former member of the government's national vaccine advisory committee. thank you for joining us. so help me with this. is the vaccine less effective or
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is the flu more virulent this year? >> thank you very much for this opportunity. the vaccine actually is leseffective, and i think it's important to just kind of keep in mind that when we talk about influenza, the only thing predictable about influenza is its unpredictablability. this is what we do know now. we know when there is an influenza season dominated by h3, or hthree "n" 2, those tend to be more severe in terms of hospitalization, in terms of morbit biddity. we know with the flu vaccine, there are three to four strains that protect us against untherensa, and one is the h3n2 strain. with the upcoming season we are getting a predominance of h3n2. that means we might have a more severe season. not only that, we're also seeing that the h3n2 that we're seeing is not the strain that's in the vaccine. so in other words, the strain has drifted. so about 58% of what is
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circulating right now is not matching what's in the vaccine. so you have the h3, you have the drift, and so, therefore, the predictions for the federal government is that it could be a little bit of a rocky ride coming down the pike. >> ifill: here's the question everyone is asking right now, including me. i had a flu shot this year. was that a waste of time? >> no, not at all. because, remember, the flu vaccine contains three or four vaccine strains, and so while the h3 may have drifted and we are only getting maybe about half protection, remember, there's stilling the other two or three strains that are in the vaccine that you'll still be protected against. absolutely, flu vaccine remains the best way to prevent yourself from getting flu. that being said, i think we have to also keep in mind because we are predicting a slightly more severe flu season and because we do have this drifted strain, for people who have high risks of complications from influenza, they need to go see their physicians if they think they're coming down with flu symptoms because there are treatment options, what we call
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antivirals. >> ifill: let's stop there for a moment. antiviral. what is that? how do we commonly recognize that? >> with the flu vaccine we're preventing flu, and the antiviral, as we know unfluenza is causeed by a virus, the antivirals prevent the virus from reproducing itself when they're inside your body. with people who have high risk from flu, if we can get them treatment, we can probably amellorrate the symptoms a little bit so they don't get as sick, they don't end up going to the hospital and it may even prevent death so i think that is a reason we want to make sure people seek treatment. >> ifill: when you say "high risk," you mean very old, very young, or everybody? >> obviously, i think it's good for everybody, if you're coming down with flu symptoms to go see your doctor, but i think in particular the high risk, the very young, the very old, people with asthma, pregnant women in particular, you know, people with lung disease, people with cardiovascular disease. those are the groups we really want them to be paying attention and say i have flu symptoms. i should be going in.
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>> ifill: l.j. tan of the ammunization action coalition, thanks. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the podcast rises again. business is booming as technology has made it easier to listen, and one program in particular has turned into an unexpected phenomenon in recent weeks. hari sreenivasan gets the low down on the big surge in downloads. >> for the past year i have been spending time trying to figure out where a high school kid was after school every day in 1999. >> sreenivasan: that's just part of the hook of a weekly podcast called "serial" that's riveted millions with its exploration of a true murder case and a felon's potential innocence. >> this is "serial" podcast , a story told week by week. i'm sarah koenig. >> sreenivasan: first released in october, "serial" is a spin- off of the public radio program "this american life." each week, the program's investigation of the case seems
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to unfold along with the viewer. the focus: the 1999 conviction of a high school senior, anan syed, who was charged with murder of his ex-girlfriend, hae min lee. "serial" host and creator sarah koenig, takes listeners through an extensive re-examination of the alibis, testimony, work of the defense attorney done back then asking whether syed really was guilty. >> what grabbed me about this story is that a friend of the family came to me and said, "we believe this guy is innocent. there are holes in this case. can you take a look? >> sreenivasan: its a huge hit in the world of podcasting, garnering five million downloads on itunes, far more than any other podcast in history. but the idea of a "serial" is as old as charles dickens who experienced wild success with "the pickwick papers" in the mid 1800's.
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>> it is also often the most >> sreenivasan: the notion of podcasting stories has gained steam in recent years with popular ones such as "this american life," which has about one million downloads a week-and "planet money." less-well-known ones draw smaller audiences but still have substantial followings. in fact, last year, apple reported that subscriptions of podcasts through itunes reached one billion. raw voice, which tracks 20,000 shows, said the number of unique montly podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million from 25 million just five years ago. we've only scratched the surface of the obsession some have with "serial." it's inspired fan clubs, academic and legal inquiries, blogs and, yes, more podcasts about the podcast. david haglund is a senior editor at slate who edits its culture blog and is a regular panelist on slate's podcast about "serial." so now we are having a tv conversation with a man who has a podcast about a podcast. so why is there this fascination with just one story? >> well, the story itself is
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gripping, obviously. you know, any time a murder goes not unsolved, but raises questions about who actually did it, you know, people get interested. you get interested right away. the fact that it was a young woman, supposedly killed by an ex-boyfriend. i mean, there are sensational details that grip you. but then, on top of that, podcasting is a very intimate form, and the producers of "serial" and its hosts, sarah kanig are masters tat. and when you listen to them you feel like you're listening to a friend talk to you in great detail about the case, and that's just gripping. that brings it to you in a way a tv show or book might now. >> sreenivasan: when you said intimacy, you made me think of the fact that a lot of us are consuming odd ye here, maybe not even in the big room, or perhaps the car, which is also a semiintimate space. you're by yourself. does that play into why podcasting seems to be making a little bit of a comeback? >> it definitely does. for me, i listen on my commute into manhattan on the subway.
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i have my headfoandz in and i see other people with their headphones in, and with "serial," given its popularity, i'm sure some of them are listening to the same thing i am, but we're each having our own solitary experience and communing with the story. >> sreenivasan: podcasting has been around for quite some time. what is it that has recently made it more popular? apple said something about, what, a billion downloads of podcasts? >> well, it's getting easier and easier to download them. there are more apps. just about everybody has a smartphone now. so you can get a podcast easily. it's becoming easier and easier to listen to podcasts in your car, and i think that's the next big wave. not only are podcasts growing in popularity now but there's a huge surge in the near future, i would say. >> sreenivasan: so they're replacing commercial radio as we know it in the car, especially for the people commuting every morning or every evening. >> for a lot of people. i wouldn't want to overstate it yet. more people listen to
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terrestrial programs. >> sreenivasan: what podcasts are more successful than others if you had to look across the spectrum? >> lately, podcasts like "serial," intensely produced story podcasts are becoming more and more popular. prior to, that comedy podcasts were huge. and i think the reason they hit first is because podcasting is a very loose form. it doesn't have to abide by time limits in the way that most radio shows do. and so you can kind of let yourself go. and a lot of panel shows are very popular as well for similar reasons. you can talk and talk, you know, as far as the conversation takes you, and then stop. and because it feels so intimate, the people who are listening feel like they're part of the conversation. >> sreenivasan: speaking of the part of the conversation, especially around "serial," there is lots and loss of conversations in different online forums, conspiracy theories galore, everybody has a theor bewho did it? was there misconduct by this person or that person? why do we get so into this narrative, almost like an interactive fashion? >> i think nowadays when you can
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go online and go to a place like reddit, for instance, and commune with other people who are discussing the case, you start to feel as though you'll get to the bottom of it. and a lot of documents related to the case are also available online so you can actually pore over the very things that the producers themselves are looking at-- not all of them-- but enough of them to make you think maybe if i look some more i'll finally find the clue that they've missed. >> sreenivasan: is this leading to people discovering other podcasts? >> i think it is. i was home for thanksgiving recently, and my younger brother told me he had just listened to a podcast for the first time, and, of course, it was "serial." and now that he's listened to that worng maybe he'll download another one and get into the habit. i think that's happening for a lot of people. >> sreenivasan: david haglund, thank you. >> woodruff: that's a cue if i ever heard one to alert you to the newshour's own podcasts. you can listen to the full program, or download segments like shields and brooks. simply to to itunes and subscribe. >> ifill: again, the major
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developments of the day. c.i.a. director john brennan defended his agency against claims of torture. but he also said the ultimate value of the tactics used on terror suspects is unknowable. and a midnight deadline neared for avoiding another government shutdown. house republican leaders, and president obama, worked to overcome opposition to a $1.1 trillion spending bill. >> woodruff: on the newshour online, we continue our 12 days of gift-giving. yesterday we gave you a special holiday recipe, and today, we've prepared your very own newshour voicemail that you can download onto your phone. find that gift, and all the others, on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, we explore drinking on college campuses, and it's link to sexual assualts, injuries and deaths. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good
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night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. funded in part by -- this is "nightly business report" with tyleasa susieh nd t thesteonce plus where jim creelw portfolimshei share their investment strategies, stock picks and market insights. you can learn more at thestreet.com/nbr. shop until you drop. americans spent like crazy last month thanks to fuel prices and u"o consumers hold the key to economic growth? oil prices to $60 a barrel and those falling prices aren't going unnoticed by some of the biggest names in the world of investing and government.

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